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Rio Ferdinand pays homage to role models

PUNDIT: Ferdinand provides analysis for BT Sport viewers

FORMER MANCHESTER United star Rio Ferdinand has said that black role models are vital in the world of football.

The highly-rated defender now BT Sport pundit was speaking just weeks before the Football Black List celebration which takes place in central London later this month.

The Black List, published exclusively in The Voice, highlights members of the black community for their contribution across the beautiful game.

ILLUSTRIOUS

Ferdinand, who also played for West Ham and Leeds during an illustrious career, said:

“You look at Chris Hughton, Chris Powell and Les Ferdinand; two in management roles and one in terms of controlling things away from the pitch.

“When I look at the next phase of my career in football these are the types of guys I’ll look to and see where are they in the game, what opportunities have they had and how have they been able to execute those opportunities.

“Without those standard bearers at the forefront taking those opportunities and leading the way, it is difficult to have a goal sometimes.

“It was the same for me many years ago when I looked at the likes of John Barnes, Ian Wright and Paul Ince; I saw some of them in myself.

“I saw them as the beacons, so I could aim at that. It’s the same for the stuff off the field in football.”

Ferdinand, who played 81 times for England, has always been an advocate for diversity and is delighted that the Premier League is supporting the Football Black List event.

He added:

“The message of diversity being pushed by the Premier League is hugely powerful.

“The Premier League is the be all and end all, they are the people that run the game along with the Football Association.

“It’s important to give people the idea that they are being recognised. It highlights to people that there is a road to go down and that you can get into areas that people didn’t think were accessible before.”

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